Learning how to start a blog is easy (as I outlined step-by-step), but the key is to find those apps, tools, products that help keep you working smarter, not harder. These blogging resources are all ones I use or have used in the past and would recommend! One way or another – this list of the best tools and resources to grow your blog will save you time (and we all know time as a business owner or blogger is crucial!)
Canva – your design center! This online tool helps me with everything design wise for my blog. I create my blog photos with text, social media photos, and all worksheets with canva. You can even create your own invitations, recipe cards, banners, newsletters! You can even upload your own fonts into the program. I use this daily and it definitely is a staple in my business.
Picmonkey – This is another design tool I have used to edit photos with. It’s free and easy to navigate around.
Unsplash – I have and use some stock photos on my website/social media platform. This is a free stock photo website chuck full of every type of photo you could think of. Whether you blog about travel, food, design, fashion, or business there is a wide array of photos waiting for you there!
Dropbox – I’m constantly taking and storing photos for my blog and business and Dropbox is a great way to store and share photos with others you are collaborating with. It is free up until 2GB of space. I pay $8/month and it is SO worth having that extra space.
Marble Contact Paper – I wanted to find a section in this blog post to mention this contact paper, because it is super cheap and I use this all of the time. Building a blog and business it is crucial to take photos to match and fit your brand. I use marble backdrops in a lot of photos and this contact paper is easy to use and easy to clean if it gets dirty at all! I photograph food quite frequently and it has yet to show any signs of spillage. You can’t beat $8 for this roll of marble contact paper!
Phone Lens – I love my wide angle lens – perfect for capturing those landscapes or interiors that are too big for the function of your phone’s camera. I have this bundle of lens for $9.99 and couldn’t be happier with the purchase.
Asana – I’ve tried many different productivity tools and nothing seems to work……BUT Asana. I love making lists and checking them off just like the next person. I also find it to be the best resource for collaborating with team members and others you are communicating with. Quite frankly, I didn’t like how the other platforms were set up – and this was WAY easier to navigate. That was my big thing when learning a new program is that I wanted something I didn’t have to spend hours learning what and where to look for certain functions. Here is your answer!!
Blog Planner – After a few years of blogging I finally feel like I have a great system in place to organize my thoughts, to-do’s and social shares I need to stay on top of weekly. Download my FREE blog planner printable. PS – it even has a spot to keep track of your blog analytics. (Score!)
StudioPress (Genesis) – One of the all time most popular and extremely powerful frameworks for WordPress. I currently use on my own blog. One of the best features is being able to utilize plugins to make your blog look exactly the way you want! I would highly recommend for your WordPress blog.
Restored 316 – These are the most beautiful themes I have come across. I have set up some blogs before using these themes and they turned out dreamy. So many beautiful ones to choose from!
Theme Forest – Theme Forest has a wide array of blog themes. The theme I use now is called the Florence theme. I love the functionality and sleek design of it. Of course, they have a theme to fit everyone’s personality.
IPage – The task of finding one of the best web hosting providers can be quite daunting as there are hundreds of web hosts out there, all claiming to be the best. Sure, there are a number of decent service providers out there but after due diligence and careful research, I decided to go with IPage, which is also the web host for my other websites. Aside from the reliable and stellar service, I specifically chose IPage for the following reasons:
- IPage offers free installation for all major blogging platforms, including WordPress.
- WordPress, the world’s most popular blogging platform highly recommends IPage since 2005.
- IPage is widely considered an industry leader in web hosting services, providing exceptional 24/7 support, which is made available via email, phone and web chat.
- IPage also offers a 30 day money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the services for whatever reason.
Social Media & Scheduling:
Board Booster – The most amazing pinterest tool out there. My followers and clicks back to my blog have grown dramatically since starting. I spend less time on Pinterest now than I did before.
Hootsuite – HootSuite is a social media management platform that allows you to track all of your social media accounts on one main dashboard. There are over 35 recognized social media platforms that can merge with HootSuite. Once all of your accounts are connected, you can schedule posts, respond to mentions, see who is saying what across all of your feeds, and create lists of the people you want to monitor closely. At $8.99/month HootSuite is well worth your money as you build and engage your social audience!
Later (formally known as Latergramme) – Later allows you to plan and schedule your Instagram photo publishing through an app on your phone or through a browser on your computer.
- Easily plan & schedule your Instagram posts
- Upload images from the web or phone
- Management from the web app or mobile app
- Get scheduled images pushed to your phone
Website Tools & Apps:
Active Campaign – I use Active Campaign to capture subscribers from my blog. It’s great to use and easy to navigate around. There are great features to set up multiple lists, add automation emails, create forms, and more. The pricing is cheaper than most as well – which is always a plus! 🙂
Google Calendar – I’ve tried so many different ways of keeping my life in line. AND not just mine by having it be visible to my husband as well. Google Calendar is great because it allows us to share our schedules with each other AND integrates with gmail. It’s a dream when tools are synced together.
Google Drive – This tool enables you to share, edit and comment on documents, presentations and forms from anywhere. It’s easy to access and they even have a great phone app as well so it’s all right there when I need documents on the go. It’s also easy to share information with others you are collaborating with.
Google Analytics – Being able to track your audience on your webpage is SO important. Google Analytics is absolutely free as well. It can show you: who visits your website (geographic location, which browser they used, what language they speak, etc.), what they do when they get to your website, where they arrive on your website from, how the user interacts while on your website, and much more.
Afterlight – My all time favorite image editing app via mobile. It has amazing filters (if wanted) and does a great job of editing images slightly with more contrast, brightness, or even if you need to crop or rotate your photo.
Gmail – SO many reasons to jump on the gmail bandwagon. You automatically get signed up with a google account which allows you access to every google service out there. You get unlimited number of custom email addresses, the ability to organize your email with labels and filters, and you can also add in photos to your signatures. All these perks and more!
Instapage – I create all landing pages via Instapage. The drag and drop feature is easy to use and I can create the page in minutes! They have optimized templates available to use and ready to go at your fingertips.
A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. In the WordPress community, there is a saying that goes around: “there’s a plugin for that”. haha. They make it super simple for users to add features to their website without knowing a single line of code. There are tons available to download – but how do you know which ones are the best and work the best for your blog?
You can find all of my favorite WordPress plugins – HERE!
Technology & Office Necessities:
Monitor – Being able to have both my laptop and monitor open at the same time with different browsers open is a definite game changer.
Wireless Keyboard (Silver) – Everything wireless, please. Oh – and silver/white! 🙂
Wireless Printer – Great quality printing and is also wireless. I said goodbye to all of those pesky cords always in the way! And it looks a lot cleaner as well!
Wireless Mouse – A white mouse that’s wireless? I’m in.
White & Gold Desk Lamp – Adding some extra lighting to my office space was a great idea and use it quite often when working those long nights!
You’ve reached the end of the list- whew! Hopefully you found one thing…or a couple of things that will help you in the blogging/business field.
If you’ve got any blogging or business resources that have changed your life that aren’t included on this list, feel free to drop me a line below in the comments. Is there a resource on this list that is your favorite?
(p.s. Be sure to check out this post for a step-by-step guide on starting your own blog – It might seem like rocket science, but trust me it’s a piece of cake! I’ll walk you through all of it!)